devos from the hill

Some Thoughts on Propitiation

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Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

ROM 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. {This was} to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

HEB 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

1JO 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world.

1JO 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins.

1. Propitiation – What it means.

The following 3 statements are from John Piper.
That big word “propitiation” simply means Christ takes away God’s anger at us for our sins.

“Propitiation” means that the death of Christ takes away the anger of God – propitiates God’s wrath – from those who trust Jesus.

That great phrase, “make propitiation” means “make a sacrifice for our sins that brings God’s anger at us to an end” and makes us friends.

In other words, God’s wrath toward sinful man was completely poured out and satisfied in Christ’s work on the cross.

2. Propitiation – The extent of it.

One of the foundational truths of the Christian faith respecting the believer in relation to his sins is the fact that when he was saved all his trespasses (the past, present and future)—so far as condemnation may be concerned—were forgiven. If one buys into this truth (that God has forgiven our future sins), then it is no stretch to embrace the truth that neither is God angry about future sins. This is all the more true since propitiation is at the core of God’s forgiveness.

We might also think about it in terms of God’s omniscience and foreknowledge. If God knows about our future sins (which He does), and if He still gets angry when we sin, then would not our relationship with Him be marked with a perpetual displeasure (on His part). If God, not being bound by time and space, sees everything “from the helicopter view” as it were, then when exactly would He get angry? The doctrine of propitiation teaches us that God got angry for our future sins two thousand years ago.

Have I ever felt anger toward other? To some degree, I suppose I have, and perhaps will in the future. However, if I could see the future as clearly as God, then I would not be surprised at what is yet to come. And if I completely grasped the reality of God’s sanctifying work in the lives of other people, then I would be much more inclined to see how it was all working together for their good and His glory.

3. Propitiation – The significance of it.

An understanding of propitiation is vital to our assurance and peace with God.

In his book, “Knowing God,” J.I. Packer commits more than a chapter to propitiation. He claims that propitiation is “the heart of the Gospel”, and that it is key to understanding the Bible in general, and five specific truths in particular . . .

A further point must now be made. Not only does the truth of propitiation lead us to the heart of the New Testament gospel; it also leads us to a vantage-point from which we can see to the heart of many other things, too. When you stand of top of Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales), you see the whole of Snowdonia spread out round you, and you have a wider view than you can get from any other point in the area. Similarly, when you are top of the truth of propitiation, you can see the entire Bible in perspective, and you are in a position to take the measure of vital matters which cannot be properly grasped on any other terms. In what follows, five of these will be touched on: the driving force in the life of Jesus; the destiny of those who reject God; God’s gift of peace; the dimensions of God’s love; and the meaning of God’s glory. That these matters are vital to Christianity will not be disputed. That they can only be understood in the light of the truth of propitiation cannot, we think, be denied.

In terms of practical application, think of this. As Christians do we not aspire to reflect God in our behavior? If we believe that God’s disposition toward us is predicated upon our behavior, rather than upon the cross, then would we not also tend to predicate our disposition toward others based upon their performance rather than grace. The cross of Christ should radically affect our disposition toward others.

One thought on “Some Thoughts on Propitiation

  1. Thanks for writing this post. This is a great overview of why understanding propitiation is so important if we are going to live to God by Christ.

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